Dretsch one win away from 100

He can get it this weekend as the Gophers travel to Michigan.

by Trevor Born

Gabe Dretsch watched from the sidelines Sunday as senior Jeremy Larson wrestled in his place, scoring a pin over an unranked South Dakota State wrestler less than two minutes into the match.

Along with several teammates, he was resting for this weekend, when the fifth-ranked Gophers will travel to Michigan to take on Michigan State on Friday and Michigan on Saturday. Both matches are at 6 p.m.

Michigan State (3-5, 0-0) should not pose much of a threat, but Michigan (13-3, 0-0) is ranked No. 4 in the country and has already beaten the Gophers once this season.

Dretsch currently holds a 99-48 career record and is looking to become the fourth current Gophers wrestler to reach the 100-win mark, joining Roger Kish, Manuel Rivera, Mack Reiter and C.P. Schlatter.

“It’s a great thing for Gabe,” said Rivera, who has 101 victories and roomed with Dretsch their first year. “I think a lot of people don’t realize how good he’s been these past four years. He deserves some recognition.”

Dretsch hasn’t completely lived up to expectations this year, however. Considered a probable All-American this year, he has started 8-3 and fallen to No. 11 in the rankings.

Yet he is only a few breaks away from being undefeated. His three losses have been by a total of just five points, including a loss in the final 20 seconds of a match.

“I know that I’ve wrestled well this year, the results just haven’t always been there,” he said. “I’m not sure what it is.”

Coach J Robinson said it has to do with confidence more than anything.

“As soon as he wakes up and realizes how good Gabe Dretsch is, I think he’ll be able to win a national championship,” he said. “Now, I don’t know if that’ll be tomorrow or next month or at all. But Gabe doubts himself a lot, and that’s the only thing holding him back.”

Dretsch will face the toughest match of the weekend, taking on Michigan’s Steve Luke, ranked No. 2 in the nation in the 174-pound division. The two faced off just 12 days ago at the national duals, where Luke won 5-3.

“I lost a close match to Steve last time, but there’s no doubt in my mind I can turn that match around on him,” Dretsch said. “And if my hundredth win is over a guy like that, it’d be pretty memorable.”

Struggles with Michigan

The Gophers are just 3-5 against Michigan since 2003-2004, the most they’ve lost to any team in that time span, including Iowa.

The two teams met in the national duals in Iowa two weeks ago, and Michigan won handily in the third place game, 23-15.

The Wolverines have five wrestlers ranked in the top eight nationally. The Gophers lead the nation with six wrestlers in the top eight.